When you think about it from a child’s perspective, there’s a lot that makes a dental visit scary. Not only is the environment strange, but you have to sit in a big chair while somebody pokes around in your mouth with metal instruments.
However, having positive dental experiences at a young age plays an essential role in a child’s oral health since people are less likely to seek preventive dental care when it causes anxiety.
If your child has dental anxiety, your first step should be choosing a compassionate dentist who specializes in children’s dentistry. That’s where our team at Bell Family Dental PC, located in Bayside, New York, can help.
How children’s dentistry works
Children’s dentistry involves the same overall goals as adult care: preventing, diagnosing, and treating oral health issues. However, the attention they require demands for different training and skills.
Unlike adults, a child’s mouth is still growing, and that includes their gums, teeth, and jaw. As a result, certain dental problems can damage these areas and even impact the development of their permanent adult teeth.
Children also need a professional who provides a positive experience. Taking the right approach at an early age helps eliminate stress, pain, and fear in an effort to make a child enjoy getting dental care. That ensures your child values preventive dental care and encourages them to take steps to maintain their oral health for the rest of their life.
Reducing dental anxiety
When your child is frightened of the dentist, there are ways to help overcome their fears.
Less is more
Don’t overwhelm them with details about their visit. Instead, keep things short and simple. You can also let our team answer harder or more detailed questions. We have extensive experience describing things to kids in ways that are easy to understand and less scary.
Watch your words
The last thing anyone wants to hear when they’re already afraid is “shot,” “pain,” or “hurt.” At the same time, don’t tell them everything will be okay. Instead, keep a positive attitude.
At our practice, we use kid-friendly methods and words to help them relax when they’re scared — like telling them we’re going to count their teeth.
Similarly, we also recommend against trying to relate to your child’s fears. Sharing stories about root canals or other negative experiences in an effort to soothe your child can actually trigger more anxiety.
Turn it into a game
Who doesn’t love using their imagination? It can also be a valuable tool when helping your child overcome dental anxiety. Before their appointment, try playing dentist at home — all you need is a toothbrush!
Take turns playing dentist and patient, or encourage your child to play dentist on a favorite doll or stuffed animal. Start by counting teeth. From there, you can introduce cleaning the teeth with a toothbrush. Avoid making scary sounds like drilling noises or whirs, and don’t line up additional dental tools.
No matter which steps you take to help your child overcome their dental anxiety, always stress the importance of having strong, clean, and healthy teeth and gums. And our friendly family dentists are here to help make that happen.
Ready to book a dental visit for your child in a safe and positive setting? Contact our office in Bayside, New York, via phone by calling (718) 224-4646 or requesting an appointment online using this website today.